The Ohio Department of Commerce recently released new prevailing wage guidelines. These guidelines, which became effective on October 15, 2008 and are available at http://com.ohio.gov/laws/, focus on construction projects supported by both public and private funds. Essentially, whenever a public entity contributes funding or other direct support (such as public land) to a project, even an otherwise privately-financed project, prevailing wage must be paid to the workers on that project. The guidelines also state that, for the most part, projects may not be subdivided into a publicly-supported project and a privately-financed project in order to avoid prevailing wage on certain “phases” of a project.

While the guidelines are intended to clarify the existing law, rather than create new standards, some of the examples listed in the guidelines have resulted in much controversy, particularly in the areas of asbestos removal/brownfield remediation. Nevertheless, the guidelines are considered to be currently in effect and Ohio employers should approach prevailing wage issues conservatively. Please contact your attorney if you have any questions on prevailing wage or whether a construction project is covered by the state law.